Singer-songwriter Eddie Money, a former New York police officer who became the hit-maker behind 1970s and '80s songs including "Two Tickets to Paradise," "Baby Hold On" and "Take Me Home Tonight," has died. He was 70.
The musician died Friday in Los Angeles, according to his publicist, Cindy Ronzoni. Money had stage 4 esophageal cancer.
"The Money Family regrets to announce that Eddie passed away peacefully early this morning," the family said in a statement. "It is with heavy hearts that we say goodbye to our loving husband and father. We cannot imagine our world without him. We are grateful that he will live on forever through his music."
He had spoken last month about his stage 4 cancer diagnosis in a video clip from his AXS TV reality series "Real Money."
"I thought I was just going in for a checkup and (the doctor) told me that I got cancer," he said of the doctor visit that came on the heels of a heart-valve replacement procedure he underwent in May, after which he developed pneumonia, forcing him to cancel a summer tour and a planned album release. "It hit me really, really hard. ... What I don't want to do is, I don't want to keep the fact that I have cancer from everybody. It's not honest. I want to be honest with everybody. ...
"Am I going to live a long time?" he asked in the clip, in which his wife, Laurie, added that the cancer had spread to his liver. "Who knows? It's in God's hands. But you know what, I'll take every day I can get. Every day above ground is a good day."
Money logged many good days during his run as a pop musician, which developed when San Francisco-based promoter and talent manager Bill Graham discovered him in 1976 after he'd moved from New York and taken up residence in Berkeley, dabbling in student activism.
Born Edward Mahoney on March 21, 1949, to a family of New York police officers, he said he was known around Berkeley as "Freddie Foodstamps," which inspired him to change his surname to Money as a joke.
He was arrested in 1969 when police discovered a crop of some 300 marijuana plants in his apartment, which Money said belonged to his roommate. He spent three weeks in jail, then was arrested again shortly after being released for stealing a club soda from a convenience market.
He later came to the aid of the judge who sentenced him in that case, holding a fundraiser a decade later to support the judge's efforts to keep his job in the midst of a recall campaign. "He's a fair man," Money told People in 1980. "I wouldn't want to see him lose his pension after all these years of hard work." He expressed gratitude to municipal Judge Mario Barsotti for sending him to jail because it taught him "a hard lesson: If you play, you pay."